Watercress Line

Chocks away!

What ho chaps, we’ve been having some flying lessons in the carriage shop recently - levitating coaches, that sort of thing… well alright, our MD Colin got the steam crane out and lifted one of the carriages up. But it counts as flying, right?! No? Oh well!

The carriage in question is Bulleid brake 4367, that’s Bulleid coach number three for those of you who have read this blog before, and the second carriage being overhauled as part of the Canadian Pacific project. This is the first time I’ve really had cause to write much about this carriage, and it’s a nice excuse. Not a huge amount of work has actually been done on it yet, but it has finally emerged from its seclusion down in Alresford and come up to Ropley. As you will see from the photos, it has had its bogies removed and been placed on a pair of temporary bogies. This is so that it can have a full bogie overhaul, but still be moved around the place when needed. We also took the opportunity of lifting up the tarpaulins on one side to finally get a view of the whole carriage. It is in quite a state, but fear not. She will ride again!

On sister coach 1456, we have also been doing some heavy lifting, or at least jacking. As you will see from the photos, we have removed a whole section of framework from the carriage. We did this by supporting the roof with Acro jacks, removing the old rigger plate, then undoing the fixings holding the section of framework in place. It was then simply a question of lifting the section down. We will be doing this to the entire carriage in turn, as it is far easier to work on the sections down on the benches than climbing in and out of the carriages. There will be a fair amount of replacement framework going in, so doing it down on the workbenches makes sense.

With the framework out of the way, our metalwork team has soldiered on with the replacement outrigger plates. This plate sits on top of the under frame right around the carriage, and is where many of the structural problems started. Rust formed between the outrigger and the under frame, causing the carriage to be forced out of shape. When the new plates are fixed finally in position, the timber frame will be rebuilt.

We’ve also been having fun making a time-lapse video of the work on 1456. We’ve been taking a single photo of the coach from the same location reasonably regularly, and have put them together as a video, which can be seen below. Hope you enjoy it!

Across the tracks on MK1 4910, the end is almost in sight. Particularly in the open passenger saloons that make up most of the carriage, things are really starting to look the part. The sixteen main windows are all in with the glass fitted. On the north side the luggage racks have been fitted back in, with varnished panels behind them. The rest of the panels are being fitted in place, and on the centre partitions Gordon has been having fun fitting sheets of veneer. The doors are also being re-hung, each of which requires a good amount of fettling. I’m sure if you talk to anybody who has worked on carriage restoration, they will agree that doors and windows are a real pain in the proverbial, so it is really good to be getting through these tasks.

Anyway, that about wraps it up for this latest report, thanks for reading!

Ali

PS - please help support our work and donate to the Canadian Pacific project by clicking here. Also, you can keep up to date with the project through the email newsletter, that can be subscribed to by clicking here.

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